As has become a yearly tradition, the All-Star reserve selections were announced Thursday afternoon and NBA Twitter freaked out over who was so-called snubbed from the event.
In 2021, the most popular take was Devin Booker not being selected to the Western Conference All-Star reserves despite averaging 24.7 points (16th in the NBA) on 60.7% true shooting (44th in the NBA) on a Suns team who is 20-10 and in possession of the fourth seed in the Western Conference.
Instead, his backcourt mate Chris Paul got his eleventh All-Star selection. All three teams in the West ahead of Phoenix got two All-Star selections.
Among those vocalizing their discontent at Booker's snub was reigning NBA Finals MVP LeBron James who stated the Suns guard is "the most disrespected player in our league," followed by Damian Lillard.
Jusuf Nurkic and CJ McCollum echoed James in thinking Booker deserved an All-Star selection.
Both Lillard and Booker have a history of being considered snubbed from the annual event.
In 2015, Lillard wasn't named an All-Star by the coaches but was an injury replacement for Blake Griffin by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. However, Silver initially named DeMarcus Cousins a replacement for the injured Kobe Bryant first, which made Lillard discuss being overlooked again.
"I just felt disrespected because I play the game the right way," Lillard said at the time. "I play unselfishly. I play for my team to win games and I produce at a high level. I think what I bring to the game as a person, my makeup mentally, how I am towards my teammates, how I am towards the media, how I am towards fans, I think what an All-Star represents in this league and what you would want people to look at as an All-Star, I think I make up all those things."
Then, Dame was snubbed from the All-Star team in 2016 and 2017 entirely. During the 2015-2016 NBA season, Lillard led a Trail Blazers team expected to finish last in the NBA standings to the second round of the NBA playoffs. He was named to the All-NBA Second Team that year but was not considered an All-Star.
Last season, Booker was snubbed by the coaches before being inserted into the game for the first time as an injury replacement, coincidentally for Damian Lillard who was dealing with a groin strain. Booker had been averaging 26.4 points, 6.3 assists, and 4.2 rebounds per game while shooting 49.6 percent from the field and 35.8 percent from three-point range at the time of the selection.
Booker proved his worth after the selection leading Phoenix to an undefeated, 8-0 record in the NBA bubble, falling just short of qualifying for the play-in games.
Now, one season later, Phoenix is poised to make the postseason for the first time in 11 years with a likely opponent of the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round.
Perhaps the nation will get to watch four to seven games of Lillard and McCollum going up against Paul and Booker. Maybe after those duels, Booker and Lillard can get the respect they deserve.